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Dr Muriel Newman

Capitalism Under Scrutiny

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The country’s new Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister have claimed that free market capitalism is failing New Zealand.

In his coalition announcement, New Zealand First leader Winston Peters said, “Far too many New Zealanders have come to view today’s capitalism, not as their friend, but as their foe. And they are not all wrong. That is why we believe that capitalism must regain its responsible – its human face.”

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called capitalism a ‘blatant failure’: “If you have hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive, that’s a blatant failure… When you have a market economy, it all comes down to whether or not you acknowledge where the market has failed and where intervention is required. Has it failed our people in recent times? Yes. How can you claim you’ve been successful when you have growth roughly 3 per cent, but you’ve got the worst homelessness in the developed world?”

Their comments fly in the face of how most respectable world leaders regard private capital and free markets. Capitalism is the driving force of all successful economies. By making goods and services that people need, a nation’s entrepreneurs earn reward, create jobs, and generate tax revenue for their government.

For a market economy to work consumers must have the freedom of choice and the transactions must be voluntary, so that both parties are better off as a result of the exchange. In comparison, in state controlled systems, decision-making is underpinned by compulsion and the fear of sanctions for non-compliance.

While most leaders are sensible enough to recognise the social benefits of private capital, accepting that it is more efficient having the private sector pursue wealth creation than the state, our new government has a different view. They appear to believe that higher taxes and their intervention will deliver something far more utopian.

Their comments also indicate that they may try to blame areas of government policy failure on capitalism. So if the Prime Minister wants to attribute blame for child poverty and homelessness, then she should focus on the government policy that is causing it.

When Jacinda Ardern says there are ‘hundreds of thousands of children living in homes without enough to survive’, she is undoubtedly largely referring to the 180,000 children who live in families entrenched in long term welfare dependency.

But intergenerational welfare dependency is a policy failure, not a market failure. 

For the able-bodied, the welfare system was designed to provide short-term assistance in times of need. The fact that families with children have become trapped on welfare shows that the policy is failing to move beneficiaries into work.

With sole parenthood and long term welfare dependency known to be two of the most serious risk factors for children, Jacinda Ardern is not wrong to be concerned.

However, more welfare is not the answer. The only sustainable way to lift these children out of poverty is to help their parents into work.

Reforming the welfare system – to take a social investment approach – has been a major focus of the National Government over the past nine years. While progress has been made, the dependency numbers remain high. As of September, more than a quarter of a million working-age New Zealanders – 277,220 to be exact – are receiving a main benefit. Of those, 120,726 are receiving Jobseeker Support, 59,502 are on Sole Parent Support, 92,847 receive Supported Living Payments, 1,878 receive Young Parent Payments, and 2,267 receive other benefits.

In other words, the vast majority of those New Zealanders that the Prime Minister claims have been failed by capitalism have, in fact, been failed by the welfare system.

Once the welfare changes agreed with the Green Party in their confidence and supply deal with Labour take effect, Jacinda Ardern’s Government will begin making the problem much worse. Those changes will remove some of the sanctions that encourage work-tested beneficiaries to take jobs.

Unpalatable though it might be to the Prime Minister and her new Government, the stark reality is that the more comfortable welfare becomes, the harder it is for beneficiaries who are capable of working, to move into jobs. And the longer their children are trapped in the dangerous state of long-term welfare dependency.

The new Government will make the problem even worse, once they introduce New Zealand First’s policy concession to increase the minimum wage to $20 an hour.

According to the Ministry for Business, Innovation and Employment – which reviews the impact of minimum wage increases on the wider economy – increasing the minimum wage to $20 an hour, could destroy over 60,000 jobs, it would significantly increase the economy wide cost of wages by over $2 billion, with the cost to the government alone far exceeding $500 million.  

In other words, these changes will disproportionately harm the most vulnerable job seekers, as those with few qualifications and skills will find it increasingly difficult to find employment. With the minimum wage at $20 an hour, many low skilled workers are likely to become dependent on a benefit on the long term, because the government will have priced them out of the market.

And once the unions gain the additional powers promised by Labour, this problem will only get worse, as wages will be forced even higher.

In criticising free market capitalism, Jacinda Ardern also claimed that New Zealand has the “worst homelessness in the developed world”.

The Prime Minister knows that the homelessness statistics she quoted have been discredited as ‘fake news’ – yet she continues to use them, because it suits her agenda to do so.

The Herald explained the situation back in August: “New Zealand was ranked as having the highest homeless rate per capita in a piece of analysis published by Yale University last month. The analysis was based on an OECD paper which said 0.94 per cent of NZ’s population was homeless. The lowest homeless rate in the OECD was Japan, at 0.03 per cent. The OECD paper said that NZ’s high incidence of rough sleepers could partly be explained by its broad definition of homelessness… if NZ measured homelessness the same way Japan did, it would be ranked among the top of developed countries. Japan only measures rough sleepers. According to the Otago study, New Zealand has around 1400 rough sleepers, or 0.03 per cent of the population – equivalent to Japan.”

The point is that it’s not capitalism that is creating most of New Zealand’s serious social problems – it’s government policy failure – in particular, where policy interventions have prevented the free market from operating.

This is certainly the case with the housing shortage. The problem was caused when local councils embraced the environmental activist agenda and put urban boundaries in place to prevent urban sprawl. This effectively prevented new house builds being able to keep up with demand – especially when by the excessive delays and costs associated with the dysfunctional Resource Management Act were factored in.

As well as criticising capitalism in his coalition announcement, Winston Peters also talked down the economy – no doubt trying to absolve New Zealand First from any responsibility for future downturns brought about by the policies of the new Labour-Green Government.

His comments and decision not to put the winning party into government – were sharply criticised in a recent editorial in The Australian newspaper:

“Mr Peters, in anointing Ms Ardern, said he believed an economic slowdown is looming and ‘capitalism must regain its human face. This does not square with the achievements of Mr Key and Mr English, that have brought tangible economic benefits to New Zealanders. Its economy grew 4 per cent last year. Unemployment is under 5 per cent and the IMF projects New Zealand is heading for a surplus of 2.8 per cent of GDP in 2022, which would outdo all other 25 advanced countries except oil rich Norway. The boom has reversed the age-old exodus of Kiwis across the ditch: in the two years to June, net immigration into New Zealand was 2,500, a vast change from the 30,000-plus leaving in net terms in the late 2000s. The National Party’s ability to make and sell tough economic decisions to voters was the envy of many other nations. Welfare and other reforms will be at risk from the left-of-centre coalition… But they would be foolish to overturn the direction of recent years.”

National has vastly improved our economic outlook, and made some progress on welfare reform. It would indeed be foolish if, the new government were to reverse those gains.

This week’s NZCPR Guest Commentator is Professor James Allan of Queensland University, a constitutional law expert who worked at Otago University during the years when we were transitioning to MMP. He is not only critical of our voting system, but also of the coalition decision made by Winston Peters:

“Notice that the justification Peters gave for his decision to install what is in effect a Labour-Greens-NZ First government is that the ‘voters had voted for change’.  Of course a moment’s thought reveals just how vacuous such a supposed justification really is – how many NZ First voters do you think wanted the Greens running the country or wanted a 37 year old Prime Minister?    

“You might think he was crazy to put in office a woman who said, and appears to believe, that ‘capitalism has failed New Zealanders’ – good luck pointing to any other economic system yet devised that delivers even half the wealth and prosperity. 

“You might think it was something other than a concern for the national interest that saw Peters opt for the former President of the International Union of Socialist Youth… the woman who describes capitalism as a ‘blatant failure’ (leaving no words to describe today’s Venezuela or the former Soviet Union).”

Already the new Prime Minister is talking about changing the way the new government will measure economic success – away from economic growth towards including such things as people’s ability to lead a meaningful life, their enjoyment of life, and whether their income is enough to support their family.

But in spite of saying she is concerned about people’s wellbeing, one of the first tasks for the new Labour-NZ First-Green Government will be cancelling tax cuts that would improve the lives of 1.3 million families. The tax cuts, which are due to come into force in April, to provide working families with around a thousand dollars of extra earnings a year, were passed into law by National – with the support of New Zealand First and the Greens!

By cancelling the tax cuts, Labour, New Zealand First and the Greens are now saying that they know better than the families that earned the money, how it should be spent. ‘The government knows best’ is undoubtedly the new the mantra that will ‘give capitalism a more human face’.

Meanwhile, the coalition agreements have now been signed – the Labour-New Zealand First Coalition Agreement can be seen HERE and the Labour-Green Confidence and Supply Agreement HERE – and Cabinet Ministers have been sworn in – the full list can be seen on the Cabinet Office website HERE.

While the Prime Minister has not as yet announced the start-date for the new Parliament, by law it must be within six weeks of the confirmation of the official election result – making the last possible date the 23rd of November.

For the State Opening, the Governor-General will summons together new Members of Parliament to take their oath of allegiance to the Crown and elect a new Speaker.

It is the following day, when the Governor-General delivers the Speech from the Throne, setting out the new Government’s legislative agenda that we will better understand what lies ahead. We will know whether the promised change in direction will take the country backwards through higher taxes and more government spending, or forwards, through a transformational shift towards a higher value export economy that has the potential to change New Zealand’s future in a very positive way.


Do you believe intergenerational welfare dependency is a policy failure or a market failure?


*Poll comments are posted below.


*All NZCPR poll results can be seen in the Archive.

Click to view x 120


Yes we have generations of parents that have no life skills & it is sad for the children that are brought up in those circumstances. Tony
Well it’s a bit of market failure as well. Simply because we never had a true market economy, we had crony capitalism like we had in the christchurch rebuild. We had a national govt that would not or could not do away with the RMA, i f key had any guts or political savvy he would have got a bill to kill off the RMA and then gone to the polls on that issue, prferebly mid term.  Sam
Socialist and social dependency policies (most often in the form of election bribes/promises) are a root cause of the continuing social disintegration that will come about even more during the trem of this present loser government. Neil
Welfare is a malicious, debilitating evil. It robs recipients of responsibility incentive, & is soul-destroying., It should be curbed to the short-term, helping-hand that it was designed to be. David
Another one Barry
If we did not have the welfare sistem and left things to the free market people and children would be dying on the streets. Theodorus
This has been a policy failure by all governments and has grown worse in the last ten years. When will our politicons wake up and relise that our welfare state has been a waste of tax payers monies and make those who have become dependant to repay in providing some service to those who are their supporters. Ken
Both. Market then policy. The author Muriel Newman is against the $20 minimum pay along with everyone else who earns more. Free enterprise is one thing capitalism is another. Greed is now in the mix. Politicians should receive a massive pay cut. NZ needs a big dose of patriotism. Foreign ownership is killing us. Scrap the carbon tax Brian
Look at history Maurice
I think NZ is in for a rough ride. Peter
Speechless… JOHN
Successive governments not having the balls to police the fraudulent ependancy of the thousands of people receiving benefits they are not entitled to. Maureen
Jobs are scarce for the following reasons. 1. Costs on employers thru an overregulated economy, bureaucratic regulations that are continuing to increase and Union dominance of the workplace. 2. New Zealand like so many Western Countries depends upon poorer economies to supply our manufacturing essentials. The success of manufacturing depends mainly on its thru put and in this respect we are well down the line. In the last decade under the banner of Free Trade; Western Nations have found it impossible to trade by exporting goods made within their borders. Hence the race to use poor nations with low pay rates and to fill this gap and retain a profit margin. This is one of the reasons why President Trump has raised border customs duties and forced USA firms that have taken their facilities into other countries to start up again back in America. The rhetoric and abuse he is getting is part of those who are committed to the illusory concept of ‘Free Trade’, and from the left wing activists who are violently opposed to any nationalistic idea of the USA returning to being a leader in this field. Free Trade means that Jack improves his standard of living, and John goes down the sinkhole. (Or the reverse). The only time in the history of this planet when Free Trade actually worked on a limited scale, was during the heyday of the British Empire.! Immigration without a manifold increase in our exports by some 15% p.a is detrimental in the long run. Our new administration with its Green input on environmental issues, will decrease our largest export industry, namely agriculture.  Brian
Capitalism makes jobs available, jobs provide tax paid income, tax that is paid creates a buoyant market and better infrastructure i.e. improved lives. Ray
The market isnt some divine self coordinating prescience, it operates within the parmeters set by policy. Both essential to a functioning democratic society. Bill
If you increasingly fund welfare you encourage it and make it more attractive then working for a living. Eric
Inter-generational welfare dependency is not at all a market failure; but a policy failure- But PM Arden will never recognize that as that is what hold her position standing – her first concern is not at all the well-being of the NZ citizens and their children; but only to sugarcoat politics for those already on the inter generational welfare!; in the process of pocketing money & fame for herself! Every time when she was asked questions that need a bit of know how to answer; she could not answer – showing she do not have the know how to be PM of a country! Anna
Why are so many NZ’landers so afraid of work? Is it a lack of jobs? Or in-bread culture of no need to work- the government will provide? Ross
Welfare is destroying our people. It has nothing to do with the market! Jim
Capitalism is the goose that lays the golden egg. It is up to Government to curb excesses and abuses on the part of private operators and to make prudent use of the rich harvest of a free economy for the common good.  Barend
How can it be a market failure when giving cash benefits out relies on the taxpayers making money & paying tax? Rex
Very definitely! Ted
As a typical Chardonnay socialist living in her cushy little ivory tower ( well paid for by the profits( via taxes generated) the markets make . And sure enough she and her ilk do not want to realize that pumping more money into the welfare system ( at the tax payers expense — once more) is only tinkering with the perceived symptoms , but does bugger all to get to the roots of this perpetual welfare problem. But that is ideology for you — reality has no place in an ideologist’s world. And it is true that it will only make welfare recipients more comfortable and therefore even more unwilling to give up this comfortable and care free income stream. Where this so called child poverty problem is fitting into this picture eludes me. This term has popped up out of nowhere a few years ago and has been bloated into another ‘ social ‘problem. And as it so happens bureaucrats are multiplying and thriving administering these perceived ‘problems and will do their level best to keep this farce alive. Michael
Aimed always at gettingg votes! Jim
I am embarrassed that this ‘tooth fairy’ with the vacant, idiot smile is our Pm. The only other policy I have ever heard mention before now, was on the Paul Henry show last yr. where she reckoned male homosexuals should be allowed to adopt children! Winston Peters seems to have lost the plot and his senility level needs to be checked!! Monica
Excellent article. Extremely well put!! Sandra
Welfare should be to assist dependants or the poor TO HELP THEMSELVES!! See how China is helping the poorer members of their society without just dishing out money for jam!!  Pierre
This week’s guest commentator, James Allan makes the oft-repeated claim that: ‘Almost half the MPs come into Parliament solely because of their place on a list drawn up by the party, and not because of any voter preferences’. His clear but false implication is that somehow list MPs have less legitimacy. It is false because, as long as there have been political parties, and long before MMP was introduced, parties have chosen candidates and we have voted for parties and not for individual candidates. Any difference is imagined, not real. Indeed, in the earliest election that I can remember, in 1938, most of my classmates were shouting not candidate names but Labour or National, clearly echoing their parents. (As it was the occasion of the Labour ‘landslide’ and most of their parents were Roslyn mill workers in Kaikorai Valley, the Labour voices predominated!) Somewhat later I remember a teacher’s comment that if an old ram were put up in Central Otago as National candidate or a mangy dog for Labour in South Dunedin, it would get elected and he was correct. End of story. Bruce 
A no brainer Harry
Policy failure – for all the reasons that Muriel and Professor James Allan outlined. Scott
Of course it is a policy failure. The statement to the contrary by the inexperienced 37 year old Ardern is the predictable response; after all she is the protege of the communistic Helen Clark. I cannot identify a progressive country that most people would want to live in that has been built on socialism. Peter
Both and greed is the driving force, Robber baron capitalism as evidenced by the need of workers a hundred year sago to protect themselves against those parasites by forming unions which in this country have been destroyed is part of the reason we have the social problems here in NZ as evidenced by the widening gap between rich and poor. Just see what unbridled capitalism has done to the population of the USA. Peter
Increasing benefits just makes it easier for people to stay on the benefits. Increasing the minimum wage reduces the opportunities for companies to remain viable unless it is matched by the same proportional increase in productivity. When Capitalism is working then there is growth in the economy – Socialism which takes more from the working to give to the non-working destroys the incentive for growth. Perhaps it is the new Prime Minister’s intention to change our present national anthem to “The Red Banner”? Michael
Unintended consequences Geoffrey
It has been created solely by politicians – aided and abetted by a goodly number of bureaucrats. Peter
Until someone has the courage to curb the breeding of more children than low income earners can afford, and restrain those that have a different father for each child; there will be a welfare burden of unacceptable proportions. This does not absolve National from its failure to address housing needs years ago and to promote a long term and steady acceleration of building backed up by training Kiwi tradesmen and women. Hugh
I consider that NZ is in for a rough 3 years – unless the 3 party coalition goes belly-up. I sincerely hope it will. It all seems to to be a “pie in the sky” set up, And potentially unstable. Brian
Socialism and its cousin fascisism are political ideologies to get power over people. Welfare bribes people to vote for being given other peoples money. Mike
WP and JA know better than to make the absurd comments about capitalism that they have. Where on earth do they think the tax revenue comes from? I think not. Have either mortgaged their homes and have gone into business, employed staff and try to make a bob ? unfortunately it appears that under their watch this will become more difficult for many SMEs – so then where does the welfare $s come from? Ross
The insane policy of paying beneficiaries to have endless offspring is of course responsible for our current worsening situation. It is hard to change the behaviour of people who care for nothing and no one but themselves and who know that however badly they behave, the rest of society will always blink first. PC-ness and timidity will never fix this. The new government’s policies will lead to disaster: more disfunctionality, more racist legislation, less democracy and the squandering of the economic advantages bequeathed to them. Great voting guys! This is a crazy, stupid country, bent on self-destruction – and for what, for why? WUNZ! D
Welfare dependency is a confidence trick perpetrated by the government, on people who ought to know better, but have become content to live their lives in economic and moral slavery, rather than exert themselves to improve their conditions in life. TONY
It’s marker failure because employers are too selfish and prefer to employ immigrants rather than upskilling (currently) unemployed people. If the market fails to take responsibility when there are opportunities to provide a share of the benefits of growth with those less well off, the market fails.  Willem
Intergenerational welfare is the product of pathetic policy by pathetic politicians. This new coalition is a scary piece of work. Mike 
The people involved will always abuse the benefits if they aren’t strictly controlled Carl
The continuous importation of 3rd world immigrants to lift labour votes are the cause of so many welfare, homeless and hungry people that do not know how to work in a market economy. Wayne
Yes and unfortunately we will see the hard work of the last 9 years slip away.Lets hope that this will be a very short term Government. Bryan
Capitalism must be compassionate to succeed. We have seen under the current system that the gap between rich and poor, homelessness has increased, free markets do not work because of the nature of humans. Ken
Why work when you can get paid for doing nothing – communism again Anne
Examples of good policy application internationally are ignored. Henry
Of course Both. Policy has left very many things to The Market, which being essentially selfish and short-term in think, has lead to social failures. Rochelle
Someone asked if the new Prime Minister is aware of dependency State or otherwise. If indeed she is unaware, then she is in good company mate. Our great master of arms past, read Jonno Key esq. gave $ 13.2 million dollars to the Clinton Foundation in the last year. Probably unaware of this very situation at home…..but mate, that would not seem obtuse to you……would it!  Wiremu
The market if I understand it, is above the policies of the government. Even communist governments have markets and they thrive or fail according to the conditions in which they live, a bit like a house plant. The best way is to gives the market some fresh air and freedom to work and not constrain it with silly interference, intrusions and conflicting and unbalancing intervention by government. Ray
Definitely a policy failure which National was addressing. Max
There are also major market failures, but that’s another story… Peter
Free ride through life is now expected by up to three generations in some cases. Why? because they have known nothing else.. Why can so many NZrs not afford a house for themselves now? Too many Immigrants. Why do we have so many immigrants? Because they are needed for the jobs that the local population are too damn lazy to do. Solution; no reward for no effort. Socialist Governments only survive by penalising those with incentive & work ethic, to support the no hopers who they pay & can control…  A.G.R.
I see our PM is an EXPERT ON EVERY THING Colin
It is clearly a policy failure, its not rocket-science? If you allow the people in-charge ie politicians the power to steal from one and give to another, the power to redistribute that wealth for no other reason than to stay in power, our political system is morally bankrupt. The under-class will always be the under-class with no future other than live on hand-outs….like modern age beggars A sticky-patch over a suppurating sore. Multi-generational education and several terms of National Government may have changed this. But the left wing will never, their policies will only compound the problem! Ced
No doubt about it policy failure or popular vote catching is responsible for our out of control welfare.But lets get real about where the welfare dependency falls most and we all know that it%u2019s maori and Polynesian .Those sectors continue to breed beyond their means and capabilities,child neglect is rife and crime is rampant.They will say this is racist and ignores their special needs whereas fact is everyone in this country has equal opportunity to prosper.The inter generational welfare problem has been fostered by vote catching political policies instead of identifying and dealing appropriately with irresponsible parenting. Don
If you offer people money when they don’t work, will you get more or less non-workers? The way this new govt. is shaping up is very scary. Old saying……..if you are not a socialist at age 20 you have no heart, if you are still a socialist at age 40 (or 37 in the case of our new PM) then you have no brains. The garbage that is pouring out of the mouths of these clowns has all been heard many times before………think Venezula, Argentina, etc.etc. They say a country gets the govt it deserves maybe we need to have a close look at ourselves. And as for Winston I think he has done this just to piss everybody off who has slagged him off over the years. He will leave his mark as he has always wanted thats for sure. Ronmac
30 yrs ago jobs were plenty, then mass immigration happened, now jobs are VERY hard to find, in short supply. My 2 sons walked the streets for 6 mths job hunting, unsuccessfully. Ned
The reason for benefits appears to have been lost. It is not for those who don’t want to work, it is for those who for some reason cannot work, either temporarily or permanently. Sue
Left wing Socialism paying people not to work. Don%u2019t mind helping mentally ill or physically ill but as a taxpayer feeling ripped off by the losers who won’t work. But still smoke, drink, own a dog, gamble and do drugs !!!!! Cutty
Gross inefficiency in implementing policy aspirations Bryan
Of course it is policy failure. Welfare dependancy will increase under labour-greens as it will be more comfortable to stay on welfare & there will be far less jobs for the unskilled worker due to a higher minimum wage. Lyn
It is time we took stock of why we need goverment at all, they caures all the problems, we need 12 good business people to run the country, & hand over a lot of what the government dose to Private enterprise, create compition just like the free market, then the country will go ahead, look at Auckland Council with its 45m blow out it is time this council was stopped. Geoff
Altruism, the concern for “others” in a collective sense, results in bad policy. Personal and private involvement is rarely evident and throwing other people’s money at the problem via government only makes it worse as is evident today. The socialist left and the conservative right thrive on altruism to gain votes and power over others. Altruism has nothing to do with kindness – it is self-sacrificial and destructive; it is the achilles heel of the West and will be its downfall if not discarded. True free market capitalism is the only solution and it is always avoided like the plague by voters and politicians alike – Why? Our universities and schools must have all tax funding removed and made ready for privatisation. Don
There is no follow up to get these intergenerational welfare people into employment Nancye
Mangere East primary school has been providing 50 kids with breakfast. The principal now brags that the number has suddenly tripled to 180 per day. This is so indicative that you give a few a helping beneficial hand only to find that everyone wants to get on the band wagon and get something for nothing, leaving more money for gambling, ciggies, booze etc. The same attitude will accompany Taxcinderella’s planned benefit increases and removal of sanctions encouraging an incentive to work for a living. Alan
Social policies need drastic change. In the 1960s, we watched askance as places like the UK had second and third-generation unemployment rewards, never thinking it could happen here. But solo parenting, racial favouritism, growth of gangs, higher crime stats and many other factors have contributed to our country’s social-statistics problems. They cannot be assuaged by pouring more taxpayer monies into the dependency pot. Paul
It is a social failure as much as anything else  Anthony 
Twyford on ZB this morning ????? Be afraid …. be very afraid ! John
There is no market for welfare dependents. Mark
NZ has a high number of unemployable, won’t pass a drug test for H&S yet the government wants to legalise dope. maybe be they will abolish H&S rules Michael
Of course it is! Ratshit Unionist leanings always bring trouble in bucket loads!. We do not need this. Robyn
Particularly the solo-parent benefit and tax laws that discriminate against marriage and the family. Social policy used to favour the family for the sound reason that the family is the foundation of the economy. Paul
Of course it is policy failure David 
When the Kirk Government changed the status of welfare from a privilege to a right, the emphasis shifted from a hand up to a hand out. Trevor
Successive governments failure to consider welfare policies and open door immigration policies are the root of these failures. Market demand created the political demand but responsible government should have provided policies that controlled migration and welfare to balance market needs.  Peter
A democratically elected government, whatever its political stripe, had a moral responsibility to practice good policy. Les
I am sick to death of people blaming ‘the system’ for illiteracy, stupidity, ignorance and self indulgence. No one has a gun put to their heads and told to breed. Coming from a disastrously poor family background I resolved at 12 years old not to have kids unless I had the financial ability to give them a decent upbringing. Nothing I have seen over the past 60 years has caused me to change that position. The ‘disenfranchised’ in society are in that position because they choose to be and do not deserve free handouts for life. It is overdue to speak it like it is. Charles
The welfare system was designed to help those that were destitute for no reason of their own. It was not to be used to derive a living. Tracy
This has to be policy failure. Many politicians over many years have to look at themselves for this intergenerational development.  Elizabeth
The bludgers have been there for years and there was changes being made, now most possibly this will all be undone. The country will see an exodus of people again. Possibly including me. Simon
It is Crony Capitalism that is the Bad Guy here. Ordinary NZers have seen the wealthy get richer, while they themselves have been treading water. Certainly more welfare is not the answer but National had ignored the rot that has caused blatant inequality to flourish while even working folk struggle to make ends meet. Only the already rich benefit from the ‘boom times’. Colin
It’s both a policy failure and a lack of desire to work. Andrew
Life was never meant to be easy as personal effort and planning ahead is the way forward Tom
What do the parents spend their money on? Owen
It is a policy failure by successive governments as I believe they are too proud to look around the world and adopt the most successful model available. The current government will only tinker with it and leave the disadvantaged further in the mire. Dennis
Intergenerational welfare is a phenomenon that occurs where governments interfere in the workspace with stultifying regulations that actually destroy motivation and initiative. Productivity is impeded by govt regulation that does nothing to improve health and safety. There is so much imposed administrative form filing and reporting that is not helpful or contributing to the desired purpose or outcomes. Every regulation, rule and bylaw should be tested against a cost/benefit yardstick before implementation. Unintended consequences must also be examined before any rule, regulation or bylaw is instituted. We do not have capitalism in New Zealand. We have a distorted version of socialized semi-capitalism. There are so many rules, regulations and bylaws pertaining to every aspect of our lives and all of them interfere with the efficiency and functionality of capitalism. Dianna
It has become a long term way of life for many Sue
Perfectly illustrated by TV interviews with so called disadvantaged family where fat, lazy daughter with sense of entitlement is constantly on her expensive iPhone during the interview. I can’t afford a phone like that. Geoff
Creeping communizing of the nation over several generations, aided by a teachers using the classroom to preach socialism. Bob
As Ardern is a Socialist what else would one expect from her. I am surprised Peters endorses her attitude. It’s obvious he chose to go with Ardern mainly because he could manipulate her more and got more lollies out of her than he could out of English. Mary
Policies are presently designed to encourage welfare dependency and do not target the key issues of why people are welfare dependent. Handouts will never teach a person how to handle life. Only education on life’s problems will. Bruce
Who nows ? David
Apart from the elderly and the genuine sick NOBODY but NOBODY should get money for doing nothing. Claire
The change we voted for was getting rid of the Maori seats. Not the changes they’re talking about. Brenda
Totally a policy failure. The generations of loser families who have been on the benefit all their lives, pass on their self entitlement belief to their children, and the cycle just continues. Benefits should be paid to these losers by way of food coupons and the like, to give assistance to those who have a genuine need for it. I watch a regular chain of people on benefits fill their shopping carts with wine, cigarettets and chippies every week, not to mention a handful of lotto tickets . Walk into any “gaming room” any time of the day and its not hard to figure out who they are. BENEFICIARIES. They have no intention of looking for work simply because they dont have to. They know that they can apply for a grant and its there for them … and Winz know this too. Des
Maybe even both. Tony
Continual pandering to those on the take destroyed the real purpose of welfare to the extent that long term permanent damage has resulted and will take years of careful control to return to a true welfare system once again. Rob
As the market isnot allowed to operate in thses areas it is clearly a polivy failure.  Ray
If you get paid for doing nothing, why would you do something to get paid?  Ursula
That’s a no-brainer. If EVERY able-bodied adult was working and generating money for their family and goods/services for the country, we would be the envy of the world. Carl
When someone receives something for nothing (no effort) it has no value – and is most often then abused as many recipients move to claim such a benefit becomes “MY RIGHT” The down hill momentum accelerates! Stuart
Some people lose their job through no fault of their own and deserve to be helped. Others who come from a background where dependency is the standard, do not. “The Good Book” says: “if you don’t want to work, you don’t deserve to eat!. Working is an inherent part of being human and having dignity through it. The Market does affect the economy, but there is always some way of finding a job, creating a job, even if it starts out as a work-for-no-pay situation. Inevitably it will lead to work, job, business. I had a man in his 30s come looking for a job in 1985. I asked what he would do? He replied “Anything”. I offered him to clean my second floor office windows. Sent him up Devonport Road not far from ‘Red Square’ in Tauranga to the hardware store with a ‘chit’ to buy ladder and window cleaning gear. He made a superb job. I gave him the gear with advice to find other windows to clean. The office next door asked him to do theirs … and so it grew into a small but efficient little paying business. That took him less than a month. he had never worked in his life before. He was shown an opportunity with a challenge. This man took it and came back within two weeks and paid me for the gear. Recently he retired from his family business. Having never tried nor wanted to work before, but was told by the court “get a job to pay your fines”. His self esteem, family pride, and eventually his family business, grew exponentially. The market plays a part, but not wanting to work or being intergenerationally dependent comes from within the people. Sloths won’t work if they can avoid it. The policy has to “encourage them” to take a new and different world view. Ian
and Policy went deliberately hand in hand. Unfortunate the Market model adopted – growing economy by selling out to internationa corporatins and immigrant wealth has nit gained for NZ what the majority of the citizens need or want. Besides Key is simply an international scam artist for banks. In a word a ‘crook’. He stole $NZ12.5 million to give to the in gifting the Clinton’s that sum to aid their presidential campaign ofr presidency, supposedly to be used for Clinton Foundation relief use. And as we all know that foundation is just a front for ripping off funds for personal gain, drug running and the international child pedophilia industry, plus selling uranium and armaments to facilitate the type of conflict in Syria.. That is the ‘capitalism’ NZrs have rejected. There’s more but too much of is ‘market mania’. produced.  Bryan
I am so depressed. Three years of this Bull shit Neil
Try to explain to me where all the sustainable & meaningful full-time (40 hrs a week), jobs are going to come from & affordable housing to either purchase or rent at <25% of their net income , in order to prevent a poverty cycle in perputuity.  William
All the no-hopers must be stoked that their budging lifestyle will be secure for the next 3 years. They’ll even get a “pay” rise thanks to our new socialist government. Pity that the idiots are too blind to see that the increased “benefits” they receive from one hand of the socialists will be taken in higher taxes with the other hand. Talk about the blind leading the blind. God help NZ.  Steve
If welfare was the answer to poverty and throwing money at the problem was going to alleviate this the problem of poverty should have been eliminated ages ago. Instead of solving this problem the very generous welfare that has been handed out over the past 2 decades has only made things worse. Allan
Welfare is completely out of control. If no kids to care for work for a community or council scheme for the benefit if no work available Bruce
The market – whatever this is – cannot control the allocation of taxpayers funds, over many years many governments have been the sole judge of where the funds should go. Many governments have been captive of interests which wish to social engineer NZ by making more and more people state dependent Andrew
How can it possibly be a market failure? Generous welfare payments ensure its continuance without any responsibility towards a work ethic. Tony
…Govt small minded ego tripping selfish narrow vision….wake and get a grip on the REALITY of life….. ChrisH
Mainly its a failure of people to do something about there own situation. Ron
It was OK to start with but now as been totally abused. Graeme
Socialism always fails It has never worked. Michael
I have to admit, I’m increasingly becoming a fan of the idea of a Universal Basic Income / or Universal Basic Dividend as a way to get our way out of welfare dependency. Ken
We are where we are today because of the policy direction of past governments over the last 7 elections. Capitalism has failed because the proven fundamentals that create a sound, healthy and functional economy have been abused by successive governments. Capitalism works when markets are regulated by intelligent politics based on the national interest and that is – you and I! Proven prosperity is achieved when a balance of consumption and production produces real growth and unprejudiced budgets that are transparent and not achieved by creative statistics. To return to a “path” of prosperity the way forward requires the re-negotiation of external trade agreements or clever new policy that addresses failing production. The rest of the world does not play by the same rules as the western world. Our markets are being dissolved, our industries diminished and our companies are being targeted for take-over or bankruptcy – the end result is the same! The new government is already spending money the country has not yet earned and that is socialism that has always historically failed. As Margaret Thatcher said, “The trouble with Socialism is that sooner or later you run out of spending other peoples money!” Frederick
Oh dear, Winston’s playing politics again and there was me thinking what a good bloke he is and all past sins forgiven. I couldn’t have been more wrong. This was his last opportunity to do a bit of good for NZ. Instead he’s chosen to give the country a bloody good kicking, by throwing his lot in with the hopeless labour party. Treacherous, bloody cur!.  John
Of course it’s a policy failure that the numbers on welfare are so big. In the end, while welfare purports to be compassionate, it is dangerous. Trapping people in state dependency is condemning them to a life of limited opportunity. Labour and the Greens will make the problem worse. Simon
What planet is Ardern on to even think she can blame the market for the plight of welfare families. But if she pours more money into welfare, the problems will only get worse. Keith
What’s the bet that the welfare problem escalates under Labour and the Greens, but they will put the blame on others. Andrew
Welfare reform should be Labour’s most urgent priority if they really care about children. And while National was making progress, it was far too slow. Jenny
Under Labour welfare dependency will grow. it’s government policy failure pure and simple. Brian